Key facts on Croatia's general election
ZAGREB, Nov. 23. 2003 — Following are key facts about Croatia's parliamentary election on Sunday.
POLLING STATIONS: 6,974 in 12 electoral units. Croatia is divided into 10 electoral units, plus one for the Diaspora and one for ethnic minorities.
VOTING HOURS: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (0600-1800 GMT).
NUMBER OF VOTERS: 3.97 million in Croatia plus 400,000 in the diaspora, mainly in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
PREVIOUS ELECTIONS: January 2000, a reformist centre-left alliance ousted the nationalist HDZ party, which led Croatia to independence in 1991.
ELECTORAL SYSTEM: Proportionate, with a five percent threshold for each electoral unit. Croatia has a single-chamber assembly with the number of seats varying from 150 to 160, depending on the turnout among ethnic minorities and Croats living outside Croatia.
NUMBER OF PARTIES AND PARTICIPANTS:
405 lists (parties, coalitions and independent lists) with 5,119 participants.
Social Democrats (SDP) -- reformed communists led by Prime Minister Ivica Racan. Strongest party in coalition, criticised for pushing through market reforms at the expense of welfare. Despite strong pro-European agenda, cooperation with U.N. war crimes tribunal during their rule has been patchy. They promise more reforms, jobs and multi-rate Value Added Tax.
Croatian People's Party (HNS) -- The most liberal party in the coalition. Very outspoken, although has only one cabinet minister and two members in parliament. It appeals to urban intellectual voters, supports a full investigation of all war crimes committed by Croats, and remains committed to a coalition with the SDP.
The Peasant Party (HSS) -- The only conservative party in the alliance, the HSS has often contradicted coalition partners by urging slower privatisation and a greater state role in the economy. Party chief Zlatko Tomcic has indicated he might join a coalition government with either the left- or right-wing bloc, depending on ''compatibility of programmes.''
Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) -- The former nationalist party founded by the late President Franjo Tudjman, the HDZ has recently reformed, purged its ranks of hardliners and put forward a reformist pro-Western agenda. It supports all reforms needed for European Union and NATO entry. Diplomats remain sceptical about its pro-European reformist credentials.
Democratic Centre (DC) and Social Liberal party (HSLS) -- An alliance between HDZ renegades, the DC, and the HSLS, which quit the ruling coalition in 2002. Despite its centrist label, it has many rightwing ideas, including a reluctance to cooperate fully with the war crimes tribunal.
Croatian Party of Rights (HSP) -- The most radical major party on the right, the HSP has recently sought to improve its image, and its leader plans a trip to Israel to pay respect to victims of the Holocaust. It does not support the return of Serb refugees or full cooperation with the war crimes tribunal.
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